Photo by Atomic Taco

Though more than three lines and two years away, RapidRide’s F Line has been getting a well-deserved look from local politicians, including the favor of a few Republicans.  The route, Metro’s sixth installment in their RapidRide brand, will likely replace the 140 currently running between Burien and Renton.

First, I want to explain why the F Line is important.  The Burien-Tukwila-Southcenter-Renton corridor has already been identified by the PSRC as a BRT corridor in the Transportation 2040 plan.  Burien, Tukwila, and Renton are all designated regional growth centers, which makes the east-west corridor that links these centers as one of the most important in South King county.  It’s also in writing in Sound Transit’s Long Range Plan (PDF), so a potential future Link corridor, perhaps with a ST4 vote, could be on the horizon.

More on routing concepts below the jump.

There are a couple of principles I’d like to outline in reevaluating how the F Line should turn out:

  • Emphasizing service to growth centers and connections to Link and Sounder while mitigating route circuitousness
  • Revising the stop pattern to be more in line with true BRT characteristics that will help build up a market for a potential Link line in the future
  • Evaluating whether or not an extension of the F Line to The Landing would be appropriate

Balancing direct and easy intermodal transfers without compromising route integrity is one of the most appreciably difficult aspects of transit planning and we see a few examples of this with the F Line, but I think proper measures to promote high-quality connections and non-circuitous routing exist, the best example of which is at Tukwila-Int’l Blvd Station.

It’s more than likely that Metro will have the F Line deviate into the station loop.  However, having a stop in-lane along Southcenter Blvd could not only shave a few minutes off the travel time, but also save some operating dollars for Metro.  The trade-off, of course, is a longer connection to Link, roughly 450-500 feet*.  Yet the direct pedestrian walkway and line-of-sight connection makes this an easy transfer that I think is worth promoting if it means a straighter RapidRide line.

Even if you minimize route circuitousness, equally important is the draft stop pattern for the F Line, which looks horribly similar to that of the 140 today.  The 140 currently serves roughly 32ish stop pairs.  A quick glance at the preliminary RapidRide map (PDF) reveals 26 stop pairs that would be served by the F Line, a differential of just 6.  Without TSP and significant right-of-way improvements, it’s difficult to see how the F Line’s stop consolidation will do much more than dent the current travel time from end to end, despite being billed as 10% faster than the 140.

Depending on what Metro’s stop-level boarding data says, however, I’m willing to bet the stop patterns could be dramatically revised to increase stop spacing, serve more riders, and increase decrease travel times.  This treatment will be particularly crucial in Renton, where it looks like there will be just as many stops as there are today, making that one of the slower segments along the corridor.

One idea Metro hasn’t yet taken a close look at is a possible extension of the F Line up to The Landing, a redevelopment on old Boeing brownfield land that’s been a focus of Renton planners in recent years.  From the Renton Patch:

Current F Line plans and budget call for a RapidRide line from the Burien Transit Center via Tukwila and Southcenter to Renton’s Transit Station in the downtown core; however, city officials have high hopes for an extension to The Landing.

Business owners in The Landing have requested the extension as well, said Mayor Denis Law. The new line would provide more predictable bus service to employees who need to get to work on time, and the RapidRide F line would help them do that, he said.

Given the concentration of retail employment and new housing in The Landing, I can’t see a compelling reason not to study an extension.  A hard look at existing stop-level data along Park Avenue and local commuting patterns could also reveal the demand for transit there.  According to the Patch article, the extension would run an additional $3 million in capital, not a huge ding to the pocketbook but still a cost that no one’s given a thought to funding yet.

While still early, I think it’s incredibly important to start reevaluating all components of the F Line’s route design and structure, particularly the very ‘local bus’-ish aspects of the line.  With anticipation of true future high-capacity transit in the corridor, the last thing we need is the addition of a watered down bus route to a brand sold as BRT.

* A transfer to or from an westbound bus would be a little more cumbersome to make, depending on any connectivity improvements that could be made to Southcenter Blvd in the future.

56 Replies to “Reevaluating Route Concepts for RapidRide F Line”

  1. ST said my numbers didn’t balance on the trade-off suggestion involving Burien and DSTT routes, due to sub-area equity, but they appreciated my input on how I’d like to see routes go in the future.

    I’d actually like to see more routes terminate at the airport, and serve both Airport Station and the south terminal stop. If the 120 were extended to take over the 140/180’s path between Burien and the airport, then the 180 could terminate at the airport. With the 120 reaching the airport, the 560 could also end at the airport. (Though my money says the 560 is headed for the trash bin of history within a few years, anyway.)

    It would be interesting to see if on-street stops could be placed west of TIBS, and have the 124 extend all the way to the airport, and the RapidRide A end there, now that it doesn’t have to go all the way to TIBS to connect to Link (though this might work better after 200th St Station is open). Extending the 124 to the airport is especially important during graveyard shift, and making the route uniform throughout the day would help people notice that the option is there.

    This would free up the F Line to serve a different, higher-density (or more express) path between Burien and Tukwila, perhaps vastly improving connectivity to semi-major destinations in Riverton, while allowing the 132 to reach TIBS.

    As I’ve said several times, the best transit centers are train stations.

    And a little Tao would be in order for loop-de-loop stops: The best loop-de-loop stops are eliminated loop-de-loop stops. Has Metro studied whether the pull-in stops at TIBS save passengers any time at all?

    1. Why would you have a route serve both the Link station and the Airport Drive? It takes a long time to get from one to the other. Currently the only routes that do this are 574 and 560. The 574 does it because there is no layover space in “downtown” SeaTac and it has to head down to 188th & 28th for its layover space, and 560 does it because you can’t safely get to the Airport Expressway from the zone on the Airport Drive. If you moved the zone on the Drive further back, the bus would have more time to move over four lanes and you could save a lot of time by not having it go up International Blvd.

      1. Tim,

        The 560 went up the Airport Expressway, bypassing Airport Station, until this past June. Getting to the expressway didn’t suddenly become more dangerous, so I’ll have to conclude ST found it useful for buses to serve Airport Station.

        The recent completion of the road under the expressway that allowed the route changes for both the 560 and the 574 make the time to serve both the station and the terminal a few minutes less than it was a year ago. Most of the other buses don’t serve the south terminal stop because Airport Station is in the middle of those routes, so doing the loop *would* be a nuisance for other riders. Having the routes terminate at the airport could be done with a live loop. By making the airport the terminus for most of the routes that serve it, there is no extra time wasted going down the portion of International Boulevard east of the airport twice.

      2. As to why it is useful for buses to serve both stops:

        The airport is probably the largest single-site employer in south King County. It is *the* multi-modal transit hub for south King County, given how many of us are plane-dependant for getting across the country in less than a week.

        But the bus stop for Airport Station involves a pretty decent walk of 7-8 minutes to get to the terminal, while the south terminal stop is less than a minute. I don’t see too many people going to the airport using that stop by the station.

      3. Actually Brent, the Port just started a construction project that moved the stop more to the south. So it did suddenly become more unsafe to access the airport expressway. I believe this construction project will be an expanded zone for the car rental facility, so it will probably be unlikely that the zone will move back.

      4. The recent re-routing of the 574 shows a travel time of five minutes from the station to the south terminal stop. Some of the travel times show 10 minutes, but that is for a layover.

  2. The following 2 points are good to take a look at.

    1) Having the F Line to The Landing is a very good idea. This will also serve the Boeing-Renton plant and offices. These workers will have better transit service to the Renton Transit Center.

    2) The Tukwila Int’l Blvd Station is the end of the line for rt. 124 and the A Line. These are both very routes. It will be interesting to see how things will work if the F Line makes the station loop. The goal is to have connections to the light rail line. Having 4 routes: 124, 128 Lines A and F; that serve the loop, will that slow travel times down just a little?

    1. 2) Routes 128 and 129 stop in the loop too. And they don’t all come at the same time, so I can’t see how travel times in the loop would increase.

      1. The 129 is on death row. It was a wierd route. If Metro wants to connect the streets served by the 129 to TIBS, do it on the 132, and then riders on those streets will also have a direct route downtown.

  3. Another option is to overlay a local route that operates less frequently than the BRT route to fill in those gaps. Since I am not privy to the ridership numbers by stop I am not sure if this a viable option. Just a thought.

      1. It’s not very expensive to run an infrequent local along with the frequent limited-stop service. It’s very common practice in Los Angeles, and seems to work quite well. The local bus often acts as a feeder anyway, so you are getting more ridership on the Rapid bus but also gaining more speed and reliability. It’s a good system, and it’s too bad Metro is afraid to try it.

    1. That’s what RapidRide should have been, and what Swift is. A local bus would free up RapidRide to stop every mile or so. But Metro does not have money to keep the 140 after RapidRide, so RapidRide will have to take over some of its stops, sadly.

      1. RapidRide A is the local route for the future South Link.

        RapidRide B is a local business cirulator for the future East Link.

        RapidRide E is a local corridor for which getting to North Link will almost always be a faster ride downtown.

        For RapidRide C, there are three major stops I can think of: Westwood Village, Fauntleroy Ferry Dock (if some of the Vashon buses get cancelled, which I’m thinking is not going to happen now), and Alaska Junction. Westwood Village riders will have a faster trip downtown by catching the 120 that is just as frequent most of the day. Alaska Junction riders only have a couple more stops to put up with before heading downtown.

        RapidRide D is a mess, but Streetcar to Ballard may be on its way if people see through the inane anti-transit/anti-building-anything-inside-Seattle rantings of JF.

        Good luck to the RapidRide F, which is a cross-fiber route connecting a small patch of hemi-demi-semi TOD to another such patch a few miles east or west, with at least three Chinese-thumbnail-torture loop-de-loop stops along the way, depending on whether it is Sounder hours.

        I’d actually prefer to see Sounders-hour-only routes to and from Tukwila Sounder Station, so that the all-day routes can be consistent. Do that, add on-street stops at TIBS, and add an on-street stop close to SouthCenter, perhaps with a couple elevators down to the parking level and a nice covered walkway leading up to the mall entrance, and the Line F would start resembling Rapid.

      2. So they build the local routes now, which they already had, while the need for faster all-day transit is just ignored for another twelve years (on Pac Hwy and Bellevue), or for an indefinite time beyond that (for Ballard, Aurora, and West Seattle). That’s twelve years of lost time and productivity down the drain. When Vancouver built the Canada Line, they immediately set up interim BRT during construction. But instead Ballardites are told, “If you want faster transit, get a job downtown between 8am and 5pm so that you can ride the express; don’t get a job during swing shift or at UW; and don’t do any errands during rush hour unless it’s southbound in the early morning and northbound in the late afternoon.”

  4. Can someone tell me why it has the kink when crossing I-405. Why does it cross at 66th Ave S and not at 61st Ave S?

    1. Because you can’t serve the stop pair at 65th if you cross on 61st.

      There’s also No Turn On Red restrictions to turn on to 61st from both Tukwila Parkway and Southcenter Boulevard. There’s also a lot of traffic going to and from the freeway on both 61st and Tukwila Pkwy, and while I can’t say conclusively, it might actually be a wash driving around to 66th instead of fighting traffic and sitting through reds along Tukwila Pkwy and 61st.

  5. What’s the current ridership of the 140? Are either of these cities major job centers (either current or planned)? Not that they need to be for good transit (just like we want to connect neighborhoods for non-commute reasons, it’s also nice to connect cities), but rapid transit usually is saved for some sort of major commute pattern.

    1. Doing my own legwork, it looks like the 140 has only 33 rides per revenue hour (actually increases in off-peak to 38.1, 37.7 at night) and an “effectiveness rating” of -2.3 (-1.3 off peak, +1.3 at night). The effectiveness rating is an overall score comparing to other routes – negative is worse than the average route in that region and time of day. Is there another route the F is replacing, or are we counting on such a huge increase in ridership that it will make this a good use of money?

      1. I’m pretty sure Metro chose the Burien-Renton corridor for the reasons I outlined above. I haven’t seen hard data, but the 140 is probably more of a local milk run route right now. Probably a lot of trips to and from Southcenter. It would also pick up some of the 405 market, like the Burien-Renton segment of the 560, though the F Line won’t go to the airport.

      2. Let’s not forget the people who aren’t riding it because it’s so infrequent and slow. If I want to go to Southcenter and I know the transfer from Link is either the half-hourly 140 or the even slower 128, I may just go somewhere else instead, or wait until a day when I can arrive at TIB peak hours when the buses are more frequent.

      3. Matt – Looking at some Metro performance numbers, I see that Route 140 is not a top performer in the South area, but a middle-range route. I assume that it is prioritized for RR treatment due to the potential it presents. The route is a string of “pearls” including regionally identified activity centers, such as Renton, Southcenter and Burien, which could generate 2-way all-day demand.

        Therefore, I recommend that Metro be bold in designing RR F to truly connect these “pearls” in a frequent and efficient manner. The 140 isn’t capturing the potential of the market because it operates as a milk run – for the transit dependant. Everyone else is choosing in droves to drive to these destinations on 405 and local arterials.

        A few ideas:
        -Start the route at 1st & 152nd in Burien, and travel in the reverse direction to BTC. From BTC jump direct on Hwy 518 to TIBS. (Route 180 serves the skipped areas).
        -Spend no more than 2 mintues serving TIBS (traffic signal priority is key)
        -Use the 61st St bridge to access Southcenter more directly (like the 150).
        -Optimize route through Renton (with TSP) for fastest travel time from Sounder station to RTC. Only serve the S. Renton P&R if it happens to be along the way.
        -Extend RR F to the Landing and perhaps to Gene Coulon Park.

      4. I thought it was just 15 minutes peak. But mid-day service does not help the majority of people who are at work in the mid-day and can’t ride it then.

    2. Matt, the data you link to is for 2009. The 140 didn’t start on its current route until February 2010.

  6. Thanks for this piece Sherwin. For some reason I am the most excited about this RR line because it basically ties the Tukwila Sounder station to the Tukwila LINK station. This will also allow people from the two Transit Centers better access to both Sounder and Link.

    I have friends who take Sounder from points south that work in South Seattle and would like to transfer to light rail. I don’t see this as any different as in most Asian cities where it may take 3-4 transfers to get to their destination.

    To me, this is a very easy transfer…Sounder to Tukwila Sounder station, transfer to the RR F line that is basically waiting for you, to the Tukwila LINK station and then back again at night. In addition, LINK and possibly even Sounder would gain riders from this line once people get used to transferring.

      1. They don’t like taking the 140 because it’s a “typical local bus” (not my quote) however they would take “this new nice bus” anyday. People’s perceptions…

    1. Realistically, I’m not sure a bus tying together the sounder station to the Link station is that great because:
      1) The Sounder only operates a few trips a day. The fact that Amtrak also uses the station helps some, but their headway is still 2-3 hours minimum.
      1) Anybody that made use of the RRF for that purpose would have a minimum 3-seat ride
      2) Sounder and Link both go downtown, so trips that would use this connection would less popular trips, such as Ranier Beach->Kent or Beacon Hill->Portland or Olympia. Trips like these would still be very slow compared to driving, due to the wait time at all the connection points.

      While the Sounder->Link connection is worth something, I would hardly consider it a primary purpose of RRF. I think taking care of local trips (Burien->Southcenter or Airport->Renton is much more important).

    2. Is there any chance Tukwila Sounder Station will ever be re-sited? It’s location undercuts most of its ability to be an asset to the transit network.

  7. This all sounds really great, and as a somewhat loyal 110 rider, I’m for it. A few things need to happen, though:

    1. TSP along the 2nd/3rd downtown couplet and rainier avenue. Rainier is constantly clogged, and something really ought to be done if only for the sake of the drivers. The lights along the downtown couplet that run on either side of renton TC could use coordination – this is frequently the slowest part of the route. This benefits not just RR-F, but also the dozen other routes that serve renton TC. (Grady Way would be the next candidate, to serve S Renton P&R.) Of all the issues, this is the most important one to deal with.

    2. Stop elimination. This is one of the more obvious goals of RR, but central and south renton need real leaning out.

    3. What to do about the 110. Some of its riders (a stable contingent of day-job sounder riders, myself included) will presumably be left off the route when RR-F presumably puts it out of service. There is a DSHS office that a bunch of people ride to at SW 7th and Lind – I would guess that this routing gets passed over for Grady Way to south renton P&R. The 110 also turns just before the landing at N 8th to serve the kenworth and paccar plants – a minor argument, but a little walking never hurt anyone.

    4. How to route through tukwila sounder station along boeing access road. That road access closes during non-peak hours, so a scheme similar to the one the 140 uses now would have to be put into use.

    1. As a former driver of the 110 (now driving the “A” line), the 110 also serves the FAA facility at 16th/Lind too. It is an assumption that the 110 would go away if RR “F” goes into effect. If I had my choice, I would reroute RR F to use SE 16th, Lind Ave, SE 7th and still serve S. Renton P&R (those using the 148 and 169 makes the connections there). This would avoid the ugly traffic on Grady Way, and portions of it, is just Car Dealerships, with little ridership to show.

      Wary of skipping the TIB stop for RR “F”. though it is line of sight, there is no covered walkway to Southcenter Blvd, and as seen at Mt. Baker Station, sometimes when platform to platform transfers are not provided, it is seen as detriment to ridership.

      It would be nice to see Rt 124 extended to Sea-Tac Station, another reason is requests from passengers with long layover (or staying at hotel)who want to visit the Museum of Flight. It was easy with the 174 (no transfers), now transfers required.

      If I had my choice, I would make route 120 Rapid Ride F instead (extend route from Burien to TIB), extend RR A to Renton, thus providing direct one seat ride service on Pac Hwy/Int’l Blvd to Southcenter. those riding between Renton and Burien still have the 560 to use.

      All of these comments are personal and only represent my views (disclaimer, since someone a while ago, decided to attack me for representing everyone on STB).

      1. “Wary of skipping the TIB stop for RR “F”. though it is line of sight, there is no covered walkway to Southcenter Blvd, and as seen at Mt. Baker Station, sometimes when platform to platform transfers are not provided, it is seen as detriment to ridership.”

        In the long run, it is much cheaper to build a covered walkway, then to pay for the extra service hours by having the RRF bus do a circuitous loop. It is also important to remember that deviations from a straight line are themselves detriments to ridership. It doesn’t make sense to delay people going between Burien and southcenter by several minutes just to save a minute or two for people transferring to Link. Remember that for people coming from either Renton or Burien, transferring to Link at TIB to go downtown is a bit out of the way, so the transfer is really only relevent to people going to other Link destinations, such as the airport.

        I personally try to avoid routes that force me into taking circuitous loops, if at all possible, even if it means a little bit of extra walking. Sometimes, it isn’t possible, in which case the presence of the loop definately affects my calculations as to whether to bus, bike, drive, or simply not go at all.

        By contrast, on the rare occasions where I am actually making the transfer that a loop-de-loop is supposed to benefit, I don’t feel I’m really benefiting that much. I know my way around the area, so I don’t care about line-of-sight. Nor do I see a walk of a few hundred feet as a particular hardship. In fact, it’s extremely rare that I ever take a bus trip that doesn’t require walking at least a few hundred feet, and I take a lot of bus trips. The result is that every bus trip I take, I have the clothing and mental attitude to handle time outdoors anyway, including jackets, raincoats, etc. so a little bit of extra walking is really no big deal.

  8. So Sherwin, what’s your solution to all those “in between” stops? If we turn the F line in to the first BRT line, the nearest stops should be no closer than a mile apart. That means a minimum walking distance of a half mile for the people whose destinations are at the discontinued stops. Would you continue running the 140 or do something else?

    1. Again, it depends on what the stop-level data says but I’m willing to bet there are a few underutilized stops along the 140. Either way, I’m fairly certain we’ll never see the the F Line fully BRT-ized

    2. BRT should always keep a local service for the in-between points when there are jobs and houses along the corridor. Metro route 8 still runs along MLK even though Link is there, because the stations are so far apart. RapidRide is trying to be both rapid and local, which is a difficult mission. It’s kind of similar to the Yellow Line MAX in Portland. It runs along a street median and stops every half-mile with no local bus. To me this is a shame, because it means many people living near the road don’t have a stop anywhere nearby, so they have no real options and are worse off than back when they had a local bus. Meanwhile the people taking light rail are stuck with a slower trip with more stops. Sort of a lose-lose situation.

  9. “the stop patterns could be dramatically revised to increase stop spacing, serve more riders, and increase travel times”

    One of these is not like the others…

      1. Np, btw well-done article all-around. I really hope Metro makes RR as close to real BRT as possible…

  10. I have seen several years worth of stop level data. The rtc, southcenter, airport/int station, and burien dwarf ridership at the other stops. It shows a clear regional market without the stops.

    Just my 2 cents

  11. Personally i’d like to see the “F” line serve the airport terminal loop, allowing access to/from the airport for Amtrak and even Sounder passengers (yes i know Amtrak should atleast be providing this service but…) Also, I think it would be a worthwhile investment to add a freeway stop like what was done at Mt. Lake Terrace to stop and connect with the “F” line to the Airport, TIB, and Tukwilla Station and onto Renton. The 594s could serve it, along with the 577/578 and any metro routes that happen to pass through. Unlike FWTC, i dont think it would be a large transfer point so i dont think capasity would be too much of an issue (besides spread out among the 4 routes roughly every fifteen minutes it shouldent be that much of an issue anyway)

    1. I like the idea of a freeway stop allowing the 594 bus to make a quick stop. If RRF runs frequently enough, the connection to the airport shouldn’t be that big a deal. In the long run, if this would allow us to get rid of 574, it might even pay for itself. The saved service hours could then be used to run the 594 more frequently, making the reverse connection more tolerable.

      As to serving the airport loop, I say don’t. You do it, you save people going to the airport maybe 5-10 minutes over getting off at or near TIB and riding Link for one stop. But you cost people going on through to Burien those same 5-10 minutes, so all you would be doing is picking favorites – making trips to “preferred” destinations a little shorter, at the expense of all other trips. You also increase the number of buses required to fulfill a given headway, which means everyone using the bus over the entire route would have less frequent service.

      Yes, the one-seat connection between Amtrak and the airport is nice, but remember that Amtrak runs only every few hours. It does not make sense to have longer travel times for every RRF trip just for the 1-out-of-10’ish trips that actually connect with an Amtrak train.

      Furthermore, for those that are making the Amtrak->airport connection, a dedicated shuttle might be warrented if there’s enough demand. Another option would be some sort of taxi-carpool system. If you can go 4 people to a cab, you can probably get the cost down to around $5 per person, not that much more than the bus fare would be (maybe even a little cheaper than the bus for Orca-less people who can’t do an interagency bus->Link transfer).

      1. I have to disagree. First, it’s important that the “F” line go through the airport for the riders (mostly employee’s not actual travelers) to get to the airport and get back. These are the people you want to ride the line, and I’m sure it would be a very popular stop. Very few people are going to want to make a double transfer to get to the “F” line, and only the few transit junkies will let that be an acceptable connection. Secondly, the 574 fills buses on its own, and has a good justification for its existence. With a single transfer and the F line serving the Airport, you will provide an alternate route to the airport, plus travel further east and west which you cannot do now as you have to make a double transfer to get to TIB from the Airport (which is something that should be corrected regardless). Actual impact wouldn’t be that great with service levels as frequent as they are. You may than be able to cut the 574 back to Tacoma with suitable transfers being available to get you to Lakewood. Those hours could then be re-invested elsewhere in Pierce County. Finally, it’s important that the “F” line serve the Tukwila Station because it looks incredibly stupid to have a high visibility and high frequency route like this pass by an active Amtrak and Sounder station without serving it, and you don’t know for certain when trains will be there to make connections. If you’ve ever been in this situation you’ll understand how aggravating it can be to find out the bus you want to take stops a block away from where everyone else is (in which case they’d be at the station). Yes, it would have a lot of low ridership times, but when people want to take it would be there and live up to expectations.

  12. How much would sending the F like to the airport add to travel time given that it’s two miles out of the way? The F line is vital for getting people in Burien, Southcenter, and Renton to Link, and every minute counts if you want to lessen the dependency on the 150 and 101 as parallel downtown routes.

    1. Link isn’t anyone’s final destination. Some stable place is, whether it be downtown, the airport, some local business or apartment next to TIBS (which I think, frankly, is rare), or SouthCenter.

      Rentonites trying to get to Link going north would be much better served by connecting the 101 to RBS.

      Riders at SouthCenter trying to connect to Link going north would likewise be much better served by connecting the 150 to RBS, or just transfering to Link downtown.

      Burienites trying to go downtown have better travel time just taking the 121/122/123 express when that is available and Highway 99 isn’t shut down, than taking F+Link. At other times, taking the 120 is still faster. If they are trying to get to Rainier Valley, then F+Link might be faster. Otherwise, F+Link is not likely going to be the path of choice for Burienites.

      I’ve gotten hints from Metro that they have plans for reroutes after 200th St Station opens.

  13. I don’t have an opinion on whether having a given route serve TIBS or the airport is faster, but I do think each route should be analyzed for such consideration, with the tiebreaker going to the airport.

    Hub + major employment site > station > transfer center.

    Also, as part of Ending the Era of Empty Buses, we should look at how to reduce occurence of neighborhood layovers. For one thing, it usually means the bus is full on one end and empty on the other. For another, it creates enemies, who go to hearings and say they see 500 empty buses in front of their house every day, spewing diesel and making lots of racket. And the driver stops and takes a break! Empty Buses is a perception that inhibits our ability to get more funding.

    Transfer center > neighborhood layover.

  14. What a misguided effort, making a not very popular route into another expensive boondoggle that the little people “should” want to ride in a perfect world (even though in reality they won’t), based on the expert opinions of wonks poring over data from their lofty perches on Cloud 9.

    These big dollar efforts should go instead to relieving the packed and crushed standing-room-only slow as molasses routes like the miserable 120.

    1. Hopefully the 120 will be next in line, as the 54 cut in front of it due to western West Seattle being more organized and affluent than 120 riders. The staff recommended the 120 rather than the 54.

      1. According to Matt’s link to the 2009 numbers:

        Rides per revenue hour
        120 – 63.2 65.1 49.1
        140 – 33.0 38.1 37.7

        Passenger miles per revenue hour
        120 – 351 365 328
        140 – 151 186 210

        In what transit agency are the riders of the first bus less worthwhile than the riders of the second bus?

        That’s right, a transit agency that decides its priorities on the basis of who are the “more affluent” people, as you mentioned above. And believe me, we’re not affluent enough here on the 120 route.

        Congratulations, Dow Constantine, I was worried that you hadn’t quite got yourself in the pocket of the right people.

      2. @Bob,

        Just for clarity, those 2009 numbers were before the 140 was shifted to its current alignment in February 2010.

        Also, the 120 would pick up even better in the numbers game if we convince the powers that be to extend the 120 to the airport.

  15. Complementing my suggestion that the 120 be extended to take over the 140/180 path between Burien TC and Cargo Rd, my suggestion for rerouting the Line F, starting at Burien TC, would be as follows:

    Right on SW 148th St
    Left on 1st Ave S
    R on S 146th St (which eventually becomes S 142nd St)
    R on 24th Ave S
    L on S 154th St
    then continue with the current proposed path.

    I don’t know if the travel time on this route would be substantially different from the 140’s current path. I do believe the residential ridership along this stretch would be substantially higher. I also believe this change would be welcome by Riverton residents as an improvement over the 132, which takes almost an hour getting between Burien TC and downtown, and only comes once an hour. And I do know South Park would be joyful at getting the 132 to reach TIBS.

    I hope it isn’t way too late for Metro to consider an alternative alignment.

  16. In addition to radically rerouting the F Line between Burien and Tukwila to serve my whims, having all the buses that stop at the base of TIBS instead stop on 146th St or International Blvd, having a stop on Southcenter Blvd with an elevator down to the mall’s north parking lot, connected to the mall by a shrubbery with a path down the middle, stranding the passengers at Tukwila Sounder Station, and converting a couple lanes on Rainier Ave S to HOV (which desperately, desperately needs to happen, unless another path to Renton TC is selected), I’d like to suggest that the Line F extend northward, perhaps along the 110’s or 240’s path as has been suggested, but eventually to South Bellevue Station.

    The 140’s end-to-end travel time is currently roughly 40 minutes. The 560 takes over 45 minutes between SeaTac and Bellevue, in good traffic. If the Line F can go from Burien to Bellevue in an hour, that would ease the pain of eliminating the 560. The 240 and 342 are both good candidates for where the Line F would go on the way to Bellevue.

  17. Whenever I’m at the Burien P&R, which isn’t often, the 140 always seems to be a single length bus. The 120 is always an articulated bus, because if it wasn’t people would have to hang out the windows and ride on the roof like they do in India.

    If you extended the 120 to the airport, what would keep it from just getting more bogged down, with more of them clumped together behind schedule? Nothing would, and that’s what it would do. Do you remember the old route 7, with three of them following each other nose to tail?

  18. So if we accept that it’s a good idea to extend the 120 to the airport, extend the A to Renton, and cancel the F (thus de-emphasizing TIB into being just a Link P&R), what’s the chance of it happening?

    Of course, that leaves Riverton Heights with its atrocious bus service.

  19. I timed some walks and bus travel times at TIBS today.

    It took me about 50 seconds to walk casually from the foot of the elevator to Southcenter Blvd. It took me 35 seconds to walk from the foot of the elevator to the RapidRide bay. It took the RapidRide bus 50 seconds to pull in and get to the RapidRide bay (not counting time to drop its passengers and wait for the bus in front of it to move, which actually took about three minutes due to letting a wheelchair off, on a lift). It took the RapidRide bus 55 seconds to pull out of the parking lot and be on its way.

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